As part of its current exhibition cycle, Vox Populi is pleased to present Philadelphia-based choreographer and performer Kemar Jewel, who will lead an interactive dance and video-based performance. A celebrated figure in Philadelphia’s dance community, Jewel has been voguing since his teenage years. On Friday, April 7th, he will present his recent choreography along with a sampling of his self-produced videos, and will speak about the history of the dance movements with which he has been associated. Supported by performances by his Xcel Dance Crew, Jewel’s event will be followed by a Q&A session.
An award-winning director, choreographer, and performer known for his work in dance, voguing, and ballroom communities, Kemar Jewel was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica in the early 1990s and has lived in Philadelphia since early childhood. After graduating high school, Jewel immersed himself in dance and fashion, performed regularly at Philly Pride events, and developed his own style of dance while working as a runway coach for Fashion Weeks in Philadelphia and New York.
In 2010, at the age of 19, Jewel performed for the first time as part of Philadelphia’s Philly Pride events and was named Youth Grand Marshall of the festival parade. A young crowd favorite, Jewel emerged as celebrated figure in Philadelphia’s LGBTQ community, and has since regularly performed and directed projects while working as a choreographer, public speaker, and advocate for LGBTQ people of color and their communities. His choreographed performances for the Philadelphia Gay Pride Parade and Festival have routinely been recognized with best performance awards.
In 2014 Jewel became an overnight internet sensation when he created “Voguing Train” —a tightly-choreographed video featuring Jewel and his dancers voguing throughout SEPTA’s Broad Street Line stations and subway cars. The clip quickly went viral, spreading across multiple media outlets including Huffington Post, MSNBC, NPR, Logo, Perez Hilton, and eventually garnered attention from Erykah Badu, Wayne Brady, and other celebrity tastemakers. This success led Jewel to continue working simultaneously as director and choreographer, producing videos for The Runway Museum, Vogue Ball Tango, and Hands. Jewel’s newfound fame led him to choreograph and appear in the music video accompanying legendary French house music DJ/producer Bob Sinclar’s 2014 hit single, Feel the Vibe, and to spend the summer in Europe touring and dancing with Sinclair in support of his 2013 album, “Paris By Night.”
Jewel holds an undergraduate degree from Temple University’s Theatre Arts Program, where he studied with famed Broadway director Lee Kenneth Richardson, and, along with his mentor, restaged the controversial play “The Colored Museum” at Temple’s Theater Sidestage in 2015. He is the Creative Director and founding member of the internationally-recognized dance group, Vogue 4 Lyfe.